Summary: Jeremiah’s call to God for great and mighty revelation from the inside of the King’s prison, discussing the prisons we see in our lives and God’s ability and willingness to set us free.
A Prison Sermon-To Those On The Inside
Jeremiah 33: 1-3
1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time: 2 "This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: 3 ’Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
"Because he lived during such a time of trouble, Jeremiah was a sad-faced man. He talked more about the sorrows of his people than about their joys. And often he wept because of their sins.
For this reason he was called the "Weeping Prophet."
Today he writes to us from prison. He has been faithful to the ministry that God has given him, and he would not cease to proclaim to King Zedekiah that God had pronounced judgment upon Judah, and that the Babylonians would soon conquer and lead them into captivity. For this, he landed in prison.
Inside the walls of his confinement, The Weeping Prophet continues to wail with the message that God has given him. Yet in his weeping, Jeremiah grasps the glimmer of hope that comes to him. He continues to follow the Word of the Lord faithfully.
From within prison walls, the Weeping Prophet gives us a wonderful plan for calling upon the Name of the Lord.
A number of years ago I would go regularly to jails, prisons and youth detention centers to do ministry. Once I took a young man with me to the local YDC who had been through a troubled youth, but God had worked in his life and in his mid twenties he was a veteran of the Navy and doing very well in life. He was going with me to share his story with the boys. As we approached the compound, we entered the secure area and announced over the intercom who we were and our appointment. “Come in” we heard across the speaker. A thick steel door opened and shut behind us. Before us was another thick steel door that could not be opened until the other door had re-locked. Standing there with my young friend I was oblivious, but I noticed that when the sound of those locks echoed through the steel-he trembled and breathed deeply. He looked at me and said “you never forget the sound of those locks.”
Today, I believe that many of us here may know the sound of that lock closing. We may have been in prison so long that it only clangs in our memory, but it is nonetheless secure. We wake up one day and find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations-with little or no hope to ever get out, and live our dreams.
I want to speak to you some things I hear in Jeremiah’s call from the prison cell today-I believe that God will reveal to you first of all if you are in bondage-and you may not even realize it for what it is. Secondly I believe that today-you can be free. God says you can. It may be the first steps that you take today, but God is setting you free if you will call to Him.
I. Identify The Bars and Chains
Some Prisons that I see in my own life and in those around me:
Poverty/Finances, Addictions and Dependencies (physical, chemical and others), Relationships, Performance, Perfection, Approval, Religion, Self-Esteem/Worth, Defining myself by the world’s standard…
You may be suffering today because of the actions of others- children, spouses, parents, bosses.
The first step to getting free is realizing “I am bound-I am in a prison.”
The prison we build for others-could end up our own-
Not long after a wealthy contractor had finished building the Tombs prison in New York, he was found guilty of forgery and sentenced to several years in the prison he had built! As he was escorted into a cell of his own making, the contractor said, “I never dreamed when I built this prison that I would be an inmate one day.”
Today in the Word, July 12, 1993 (from Bible.org)
II. Revisit The Case: Why Am I Here?
Many of us are in prisons of our own making. It didn’t start out that way-but now we find ourselves trapped-in the vicious cycle.
“You’re in the shape you’re in today because of the decision that you have made in your life.” This quote echoes in my spirit each time I watch the film “Flywheel” from Sherwood Pictures.
Today we are reaping what was sown years before. Today we are sowing what you will reap in the coming years. Others of us are in prisons that are not of our own making-they have been placed upon us-yet they are just as effective in discouraging us and thwarting our pursuit of God’s best for us. In some cases-those decisions were made for us without our input. We had no say. But today we do have a say-because the Word of the Lord has come.